Thermal Ascension

scalloped feathers steady,
receives the inhale
of thermal and rises—

pull of eternity
intricate in the markings,
counted, threaded
weave of wing,
shaded, textured
frail-boned sail,
lifting beyond
the normal thrust
or rush
of a day’s darting—

the bluest gravity
like a longing,
homing the skyward lean,
column of circling breath—

ride to heaven.

by Jane Pettibone

originally appeared in Progenitor

Forty Days

Standing on edge
of a great fall,
a long corridor,
I see thorns in desert soil,
wonder about trekking
through cholla, ocotillo, saguaro,
fluid mirrors,
shifting shapes,
irascible dust storming
blue. First steps
are always risky,
a long way to the mountain
pointing skyward.
Dirt slithers—
sidewinder, scorpion, gila
flicking sand like water,
splaying dust like mist,
I am terrified.
A coyote howls,
some call it song,
to me—a haunting.
What is this burning in my flesh,
the slow desiccant in my throat?
My life has shriveled
like the arroyo.
Chill of naked dark
crackles my bones,
stars, sharp as shards
refract kingdoms far away,
a stone under the Palo Verde
glistens as oiled bread,
I ponder digging my own grave.
Easier now to lay me down,
lay me down,
lay me down.
A dove ladles out morning,
I swallow the liquid dirge,
let it wallow the wasteland
of my tongue—
in choice wine.

by Jane Pettibone

originally appeared in Progenitor

Three Wishes

If I could give you
from the palm of my hand
three intricate stars of milkweed
because I do not have words
to say what I want to tell you,
instead I would offer you the perfect fibers
of downy silk twirling
across the sky and my open hand,
each star holding the meaning of speechless thought
visible and layered,
white filaments reaching,
and somehow that would be enough,
the transfer from my hand to yours
and all would be understood
as your hand lifted the understanding
level with your eyes—
maybe then as you looked down the soft spindles,
like overlapping threads of time,
you could hear the whisper
of a mother’s breath to son,
the gentle wind stirring
the silken chords
to speak
for me.

by Jane Pettibone Homan (Jane Pettibone)

originally appeared in 2011 Encore

Dry Fly Floated By—Haiku

Dry fly floated by
Rainbow broke swirling water
Swallowed in the light

by Janie Homan (Jane Pettibone)

originally appeared in The Denver Post

Contemplating Canaan

Tightly bound in bud,
the lilacs spire outside my window,
lavender clusters reaching
in covenant to blue glass of heaven.
The ripening is slow,
like forty days or years wandering—
pressed petals like prayers
or tents folded together
in wait.

by Jane Pettibone Homan (Jane Pettibone)

originally appeared in Poetry On Track